England’s Kate Cross thinks the women’s game is ‘ready for five days of cricket’

Kate Cross

Kate Cross insisted the women’s game is “ready for five days of cricket” as England prepare for the only four-day Test of the women’s Ashes against Australia.

Heather Knight’s side go into the clash in Canberra looking to become the first English team to win a Test match Down Under this winter after the men crashed to a 4-0 series defeat.

England are 4-2 behind in the multi-format series after Australia won the opening T20 and the subsequent two were washed out, leaving the points shared and the visitors needing to avoid defeat to keep their hopes of regaining the Ashes alive.

And Cross thinks the women’s game is ready for five-day Test matches, with recent four-day encounters having produced a lot of draws.

“I think we’re ready for five days of cricket now, I think historically that was around tour lengths and women apparently weren’t fit enough to be able to manage five days but I think we’re ready for that now,” Cross said.

The last four women’s Test matches have all ended in draws while England have not won a Test since their last victory over Australia, in the 2013-14 Ashes, but Cross believes that could be resolved with the introduction of an extra day.

“I think that would help with those draws that we keep getting,” the England seamer said.

“I think if you play five days of cricket you’re probably going to get more results out of women’s Test matches so maybe that would be something we could look into moving forward.”

The series was restructured following England’s arrival in Australia, with the three T20s brought forward to start the series because of the mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arriving in New Zealand for the World Cup in March.

“A lot of the girls, as far as I’m aware, haven’t touched a red ball since they got here so our preparation hasn’t been ideal – it’s not been what we had it down to be before we left around Christmastime so it’s now going to be whichever team adapts the best to the conditions and manages to get out there and perform,” Cross added.

“If you were planning an Ashes preparation, this wouldn’t have been it for us, this wouldn’t have been written down so I think we’ve just got to make the most of it and hopefully the adrenaline of playing in a Test match gets us through.

“Having played more Test cricket in the last couple of years will stand us in a better stead than it would have done if we’d not played those games.”

Lauren Bell was added to the England Women’s squad for the Test match, with the 21-year-old seamer yet to be capped at international level.